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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WFMW - Seat Belt Drills

This past weekend, I took the girls and headed out of town to visit friends. While out and about, someone was having trouble buckling up. I made a comment to my friend about seat belt drills and she said What? I decided then that was my topic for today's Works for Me Wednesday!

A few weeks ago, I got really frustrated at Princess1. She would get into the van first and go towards her seat. I would then put Princess2 in her harness car seat and climb out of the back of the van to get into my seat, buckle up and turn on the van. Then before driving, I would check to see if Princess1 was buckled. No. Many times. Finally I threatened that if she couldn't get her seat belt on in the time it took me to get Princess2 in her seat and me into mine we would do seat belt drills.

She didn't take me seriously. The next day we were leaving Princess1's piano lesson. But she didn't get her seat belt on. So I turned off the van and climbed out. I undid Princess2's harness and sent both girls back to the entrance to the piano studio and we started all over again. I promised them that if Princess1 couldn't get her seat belt on before I was done with Princess2's harness, we would be doing it again.

Wow! Princess1 really does know how to buckle a seat belt. And now she can do it quickly. We haven't had to do another seat belt drill, but we've had to be reminded a few times as an encouragement.

So seat belt drills work for me! Maybe they'll work for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WFMW - Disinfecting the House/Don't share germs

Updated: I keep updating this list as more tips come to mind or someone shares some.

With all the flu variations going around and schools closing, I have been pondering disinfecting my house. I've had friends make the comment for years when a little one was sick "I've just finished disinfecting my house". This past week I've been asking what that means to several friends. I thought I'd share their tips and mine on disinfecting the house and preventing the sharing of germs - even though I don't do all of them but I think about it.

1. Use a Clorox wipe to wipe all lightswitches and doorknobs. Also wipe telephones, remotes, Wii remotes, television buttons, front of VCR, etc. More things to wipe down - refrigerator handles, oven door handle, microwave buttons, faucet handles, cabinet handles, toilet handle, thermostat. Do this at least every other day.

2. Wash hand towels every day; give each person their own hand towel.

3. Replace hand towels in bathroom with paper towels.

4. Replace toothbrush/toothbrush head after illness; or run through dishwasher to disinfect.

5. Change clothes and wash hands immediately after getting home from school or event with lots of other people.

6. Wash pillowcases several times a week and immediately after being ill; wash sheets once a week and immediately after illness.

7. Spray all surfaces with Lysol every other day if not ill, every day if ill.

8. Wipe down hard surfaces with Clorox wipes every other day if not ill, every day if ill.

9. Spray Oust for 10 seconds in each room every other day if not ill, every day if ill.

10. Don't share drinks with others.

11. Cough/sneeze into inside of elbow or into kleenex; throw kleenex away instead of piling beside bed (I personally NEVER do this :) ); wash hands after sneezing or coughing.

12. Wash hands often.

13. Don't touch face.

14. Don't forget to wipe down the computer keyboard and mouse plus lamp switches.

15. Give each kid their own tube of toothpaste instead of sharing.

Do you have any additional tips/suggestions to add to this list?

For other tips today, enjoy Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family!

Monday, October 12, 2009

WFMW - Whose is Who's

I apologize for any grammatical error in my title - especially to my mom. I'm tired and I just don't want to think about it any more. And so that I don't have to remember to do this post on Wednesday, I'm doing my Works for Me Wednesday post today.

So for my tip this week, it's primarily about towels.

My daughters share a bathroom and, within the bathroom, a towel rod. They both love Princess and TinkerBell so they have Princess and Tinkerbell towels. For the longest time, I could never remember who's towel I hung up on which side of the towel rod. Finally, I came up with this idea. Princess1 is left-handed and Princess2 is right-handed. So, Princess1's towel gets hung on the left side of the bar and Princess2's towel is on the right side. Now I never have to remember who gets Princess this week and which one has Tink, or if they are both using the same style.

This tip may not work if your kids have the same hand preference, but it Works for Me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My inspiration - a must read.

Last week, I posted about how we have implement "points" in our home, primarily for Princess1. Well, the same source that inspired that has inspired me again. I'm not sure how I'm going to implement the concept but I have to share the concept with you today.

Please click here and read Lara's post. See if it inspires you too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WFMW - Earning Privileges

I love reading blogs. Some I read to find out about deals to help me save money. Some I read to share in other people's lives. And some I read to help me improve myself and my family. One of my favorite blogs combines the middle and last reasons for reading... The Lazy Organizer. I enjoy Lara's sense of humor and have especially appreciated her sharing of adventures in improving her parenting. One post really caught my attention at the right time in our life here...Follow the Dream. I'll let you read Lara's approach yourself. But here's how we modified it for Princess1, and somewhat Princess2 who wouldn't be left out.

Originally, my plan was to use the notebook approach that Lara uses. Handwriting is hard for Princess1 and I thought this would be a good way for her to practice without a "sit down, time to practice" event. But quickly we realized it wouldn't work. And I stumbled across another blog who did something similar but used craft sticks (sorry, I didn't pay attention to which blog it was but I thank you for your post whoever you are).

So I bought a set of colored craft sticks (I thought colors would be more appealing to the girls and therefore they'd be more cooperative). I took some gold paint and put it in an old applesauce tub (I save these for everything - which I guess could be a WFMW post in the future). I then dipped the sticks in the paint and hung them from a string with clothespins to dry. I then used a sharpie to write a chore/task on each one. Coming up with the list of chores/tasks was quite the effort because Love and I had to agree. I wanted to give Princess1 a point for playing/spending time with Princess2. But Love thought that Princess1 might fight being "forced" to play with Princess2.

So we compromised and created "CTR Points". This is the BEST part of our program. Anytime we spot Princess1 choosing the right (CTR), we will spontaneously give her a CTR point. This is often for playing with Princess2. It can also be used for an overall attitude or immediately responding when we call her or ask her to do something. It is also used for abnormal tasks that we need her to do.

By earning points each day, Princess1 earns privileges. If she earns 4 points, she earns tv/computer/wii privileges. If she earns 6 points, she can invite a friend over or go play at a friend's house. If she earns 8 points, she can have a sleepover. We started this this summer when sleepovers could happen during the week. But since school has started, we've yet to earn 8 points in a day but we need to have some alternative special privilege for when it's during the week.
Eventually, I cleaned out some peanut butter jars, wrapped it in scrapbook paper and put their names on their jars (thanks to my neighbor who has a cricut machine). The girls were both very excited to have nice looking containers for their points.

We've been using the point system since the beginning of summer. Some days Princess1 is enthusiastic about earning points. Other days she decides she'd rather not watch tv.
What earns a point:
Make your bed
Get ready for the day (get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, hearing aid, glasses)
Practice Piano
Water garden
10 minutes of cleaning in your room
10 minute clean of the living room (generally as a family)
Set table for dinner (or other meal)
Help cleanup dinner

I believe all of these chores/tasks are appropriate for her age and abilities. And none of them take a huge amount of time (note that she only has to work on her room for 10 minutes, not until it's spotless).

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is that I'm not taking anything away from her, ever. She has to earn her privileges. This is a more positive approach than a punishment for not cleaning her room. And because she gets to choose which ones she does to earn points, she has even more control over her day.
We tried this where she earns the points on the same day as privileges - so if she earned 6 points, she immediately called a friend to play. But with school, we discovered that by the time she finished earning her 6 points, it was too close to dinner time to go play with someone. So we switched it to earning your points for the next day. Princess2 doesn't like this and feels her motivation to earn 6 points is gone, except on those days where she has the privilege of playing with a friend. So it's still a work in progress - but the point system definitely Works for Me! Click here for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm "famous"

I was so excited this morning to discover that one of my favorite blogs mentioned little ole me!

We are THAT Family is the host of Works for Me Wednesday which I participate in semi frequently. But often those thoughts are more in my head than I actually post because I forget about them when Wednesday comes around. In fact, I had an idea yesterday while visiting with my parents and now I can't remember what it was. But I'll call Mom so I can post it..

So a few days ago, Kristen posted a caption contest and today announced the winner... I didn't win :( But I was one of her favorites. To find out my caption, go here. And to see the picture, go here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WFMW - FHE Outline

As I promised last week, here is how we do Family Home Evening...

Opening Song
Opening Prayer
Practice Song - the song they are learning this month in Primary
Family Calendar for the week and highlights coming up
Lesson (usually 5-10 minutes)
Closing Song
Closing Prayer
Treats (You HAVE to have treats every week - isn't that what FHE is all about?)

Generally the opening and closing songs are from the current year's primary program to continue to practice them. But we occassionally will do other favorites (Morgan always asks for Follow the Prophet).

Overall, FHE takes about 30 minutes, including gather the family time.

Now on the 4th week, which is Singing FHE. We replace the lesson with the songs from the primary program and Follow the Prophet.

Treats - this is your excuse to make all those dessert recipes you have in your recipe box.

Now many families will follow treats with an activity. But we haven't gotten that into our regular schedule yet. Maybe when the girls get a little older and FHE isn't followed immediately by family scriptures and prayer and bed.

And this works for our family. Go here for more Works for Me Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What do you believe about heaven and hell?

We were recently visiting with our neighbors and it came up that our neighbor had once been told "If you don't believe the same as I do, you're going to hell." I've heard that before, but usually in the phrase "If you don't belong to [this religion], you're going to hell." I immediately wanted to jump in on my husband's conversation to say "We don't believe that." But didn't get the chance. Yes, a missed missionary moment... but I did talk with his wife a few days later and let her know we didn't agree with that statement.

As I pondered that and Princess1 being around kids of the full range of religious thought at school, I wanted to make sure she knows that we don't believe that. And to help her know what our Church teaches about "heaven and hell". So that's my FHE lesson topic for September. Explaining our viewpoint and what the prophets have taught is easy. I'll be doing something similar to this.

Princess1 already understands that not everyone believes Pres. Monson is the Prophet of God. And not everyone follows what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches. If you know Princess1 or Princess2, you've probably heard their comments about "He's a naked kid" when they see someone without their shirt on. They both know that modesty is important in our family but that not everyone follows that. Now, to teach them to not point it out loudly when we're at the park :)

Here's where I need your help. I also want to be able to let Princess1 (and Princess2) know what others they are around may believe. Rather than trying to go off my memory or guess what other religions or non-religious friends believe, I decided I would post it as a question. What do you believe (and/or what does your church teach) about heaven and hell. In your response, please include what religion you are, if any. My intent with this information is to show Princess1 how we believe the same and how we believe different from those around us.

Thanks for your help and for being willing to share your beliefs with us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WFMW - FHE Schedule

I always come up with great Works for Me Wednesday topics, but not on Wednesday. Wednesday finds my mind blank about what works for me. So when I got my idea today, I decided to go ahead and do my post.

Monday night is Family Home Evening (some people call it Family Night). Next week, I'll post what Family Home Evening means for us as far as what we do. But the main focus is some kind of lesson or discussion. It used to be, though, that I ended up ALWAYS doing the lesson. But when Princess1 got ready to enter Sunbeams in Primary, we knew we needed to change things so she could practice presenting (starting in Sunbeams, the kids take turns giving a short talk to the other kids during Primary - it's assigned for each week). So to help her be more comfortable, we came up with a lesson schedule for the month.

First Monday - Love/Daddy gives the lesson.
Second Monday - Mommy (me)
Third Monday - Princess1
Fourth Monday - Primary Presentation Songs
Fifth Monday (as needed) - special activity

This week was Princess1's turn. And the first time she did it all by herself. In the past, I've helped her select and prepare a lesson. Now before anyone gets all amazed, when she was 4 and 5, I created the lesson and whispered it to her and then she repeated what I said to Love.

So on Monday morning, Princess1 calls to me from the living room. "Mom, who's turn is it for the lesson today?" "It's your turn." "What should I do?" I then gave her the August issue of The Friend magazine and told her to read through it and pick out a story to read to us for her lesson. She did and read it to me that afternoon to practice. Then at FHE time, she read it to everyone. She did awesome! And we praised her for doing it all herself.

The month's schedule really helps us remember who is responsible for preparing the lesson. And that works for me. Now we just need to work on assigning out the other responsibilities too.

Princess1 is really starting to grasp the concepts of the Gospel. I can see her growing and preparing for baptism.... 17 months to go!

For more tips this Wednesday, head over to Works for Me Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WFMW - The one left behind

In a few weeks, Princess1 will be returning to school for 1st grade and Princess2 will be left behind. At the same time, we're hopeful that our period of unemployment will be ending by then too. What to do with Princess2 who is very attached to her sister and her daddy (she has always been a daddy's girl while Princess1 is more a mommy's girl).

So here's my plan:

#1. AT HOME SCHEDULE. It's essential to my sanity and to Princess2's that we have a daily schedule. It lets us both have time apart, time together, time to play and time to work. Last year's schedule worked really well but will have to be tweaked with the absence of naps now.

#2. TREATS. I will be coming up with special activities for us to enjoy those first weeks - a trip to the zoo, a trip to Bass Pro, the park (once it cools down some).

#3. OUTING SCHEDULE. In addition to our time at home and special outings, I want to set up some regular outings - storytime at the Library and the Nature Center, gymnastics class (pending employment), regular playdates.

#4. SPECIAL TIME WITH SISSY. I will be having a talk with Princess1 about dedicating some time to her sister when she gets home from school.

#5. SPECIAL TIME WITH DADDY. Princess2 has gotten into the routine this past week of waking up early so she can crawl in between us in our bed while we're studying the scriptures to snuggle with her daddy. Half the time she falls back asleep but she has some private Daddy (and a little Mommy) time. We need to make sure that she still gets that time with him.

And I'm hoping these Work for me. For more back to school ideas and tips, check out Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

On a second note, we learned to NOT walk home from school last year with Princess1. She would be so tired at the end of the day, that walking home pushed her over the edge and we had GROUCHY girl! By driving home, she would then share her day and be cheerful to be around. Too bad I didn't figure this out until May :(

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Puffs at Dillon's

If you need kleenex or Puffs for school, you need to head to Dillon's by Tuesday. Currently, Puffs are on sale for $1.99 for the large box (216 tissues). I normally buy these at Wal Mart in the 3 pack and it comes out to about 1.67 per box. BUT, if you buy 4 qualified items (which these are), you get $4 off your purchase. That makes each box of Puffs $0.99!! These are the only kind of tissues I buy so I stocked up. I may even decide to go back on Monday or Tuesday and buy a few more. Princess1's new school wants us to bring 2 large boxes of tissues so that's where some will be going. I was almost out of tissues in our house so it was great timing!

Enjoy your savings!

UPDATE 8/3 - I failed to mention loading a coupon on to your Dillon's card at P&G eSaver. And then yesterday's paper has a 0.25 off 3 Puffs coupon in the P&G coupon insert. I'll probably use one or two so if you want to come grab my extras, you're welcome to do so.

UPDATE 8/3 - Another great back to school deal. Walgreen's has the Expo markers on sale for 1.99 for a 4 pack. I bought them a few weeks ago when they were on sale too; but I'll probably head back for a pack for home this week.

Contact confession and goal

I heard a story recently about a young woman I know. She questioned how much she was loved by her friends. So she stopped texting, blogging, facebooking, calling, visiting. And waited. Some friends checked on her pretty quickly. But others, it tooks weeks before they contacted her. Sound depressing? Well, more than depressing, it made me feel guilty. Because I had failed to contact her too.

I've been in this lady's place before so I immediately understood the story and how she felt. When Princess2 was born, I struggled. And I was so tired. So I didn't contact others. And no one contacted me, or very few. It definitely felt like no one. After awhile (months), I picked myself up and started making some contacts, generally using my calling as the push.

For me, I don't contact others because I wonder what I would have to share about me that anyone would be interested in. That's just my personality. It's not a lack of self-esteem. I generally like myself but think that others would find me boring or wouldn't be interested in the same thing. I am naturally an introvert and like staying home more than I like going out shopping or to the movies. Add to that how busy people are and it's easy to not make those contacts.

But after hearing the story, I wondered how many others out there that I don't hear from are feeling the same as this young woman or as I did when Princess2 was born. So I will be making an effort to simply contact those in (and out) of my immediate circle. So don't be surprised if I make a call to you for no reason other than to say hello; or I stop by unexpected with treats. If you need this too, you can leave a comment and you'll be on the top of the list. And if you're my friend on facebook, you won't be as surprised to find that a lot of the treats are going to be zucchini bread or brownies :)

So now I've written it down and shared my goal. Your job is to keep me accountable!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Food blogs - WFMW

I thought I would share my favorite food blogs as they DEFINITELY Work for Me!

First is Leigh Ann at Your Home Based Mom. All of her stuff looks delicious and real (I could make it and my family might eat it). Maybe for Friday night, I'll make her cake pops, which Kate, below, also made this week.

Next would be Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments. Last week I made her Piled High Chicken Melts. YUM!! And soon I'll be trying this, even though I'm not a Taco Bell fan.

And who could ignore Ree at Pioneer Woman. Every time I go to her site, I find my mouth watering and I'm ready to hit the kitchen!

Finally, if I don't already have a recipe for what I want to make, I head over to AllRecipes. I have quite a few recipes from them that have become family favorites. Like Anniversary Chicken, which I first had at Denise's house and had to have the recipe. I especially love that I can do an ingredient search! And I found a recipe there for zucchini bread that I'll be trying this week (and I'll be trying this recipe for Zucchini Brownies too that I found on WFMW today).

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WFMW - Job Hunt

No, this is not a post that says we like to job hunt. But it is our life right now.

We have several criteria as we search for new jobs. First thing we consider is location. We like where we live so Network, or even PC Support, jobs in this area are always considered and normally applied for (there has been one we didn't apply for because it was nights, which wasn't the biggest problem - the bigger problem Thursday night through Sunday night and we don't want to work on Sunday, especially every week).

But we are willing to move, ALMOST anywhere. Here are the criteria for location, if we are to move. 1) Closer to a Temple. 2) Close to a meetinghouse (we are SO SO SPOILED by living less than 5 minutes from our assigned meetinghouse). 3) Not a major metropolitan area (we don't want to live in Chicago, DC, Miami, New York, Philadelphia). 4) Not in California; not in states that don't agree with our moral standards. (I still love my friends who disagree but I won't live in a state that has legalized same sex marriage; if you want to, then that's fine. I'll even visit but I don't want to live there.) On another note, my husband prefers (but not refuses) not to live in a state with gun laws he doesn't agree with.

So how are we finding jobs to apply for. First, we took a map and marked the Temple locations and an hour radius. Then we research those areas, looking for who their major employers are. Next, I create a Favorites/bookmark folder for that area and add links to those employers' career websites. I also create a spreadsheet of those employers and print out the list. Then each day, we go through as many sites as we can. Basically everyday we do our local community. Then another location. So as soon as a job is posted, we can know about it and apply.

And I just figured out how to post his resume to the internet using GoogleDocs! So if you know of any IT server/network jobs, please send them this link.

And that's how this job hunt is working for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday, go check out We are THAT Family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Provident Living - Budget during unemployment

As part of Frugal Friday, I decided to share how I budget since I recently showed my mom and she exclaimed "I was trying to figure out how to do exactly this!". I'll explain what I do and then there is an image of my spreadsheet (with made up numbers).

All the financial books I read tend to do budgets on a monthly basis. That probably works for those who have a monthly paycheck or even twice a month paychecks. But for us, we've always had bi-weekly paychecks. So a long time ago, I started using Excel to do our budget. I've tweaked it over the years and right now I'm loving it.

Across the top, I have two columns per paycheck (if Love and I both have a paycheck on the same day, that day would have 4 columns). At the top of each column, I put the date of the paycheck. Next comes the expected amount. Then those two columns per paycheck are broken down into the date the bill/payment is due or paid on the left and the amount to come out of that paycheck on the right.

Going down the very first column on the far left are a list of all our expenses/bills. The next column shows how much is generally paid for that expense. Then I look at when that bill is due. I then assign each of the next upcoming bills to a paycheck, making sure it's before the bill is due. I also leave a few rows blank at the bottom for various expenses - like a trip or birthday (then instead of the due date, the expense is written in the left column of that paycheck)

At the bottom of each paycheck, I have the spreadsheet automatically total how much I've assigned out to expenses for that paycheck. Then underneath that it shows how much I have remaining. If I have extra after expenses, I then add a second Savings line for an additional amount to add to our savings.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Starting a new Chapter in Life - Unemployment

In May, we learned that 14 people at Love's job would be laid off by July 1 (out of 680 employees). Because there were only 2 people on his team at this location, we thought we were safer than some. But in the meantime, I started evaluating how we could cutback and put off buying things that we didn't NEED until we heard our status. I also started using my clothesline more (added reason was with rising temperatures, I didn't want to heat up my house with the dryer). And I kept thinking we would be told we were moving to the corporate offices.

Then THE Wednesday in June came. People were starting to be told that their job had been eliminated or moved to a different city. Love was told he was to meet with one of the big wigs at 4:45 pm. And we knew we were going to be impacted. The question was would he have a job in another location or was he being laid off. The meeting didn't last long. He was being laid off. His official termination date would be at the end of the month, but he was no longer working. And it was a lot bigger than 14; 70+ people were laid off.

But we are BLESSED! Because we had received the warning a month earlier and the Spirit had whispered to me that we were in for a change, I have been fine. At first I was cheerful in fact, but now I'm tired.

We are also blessed financially. We have been following Dave Ramsey's baby steps and through hard work and provident living, we are on Baby Step 3. That means we have no debt outside of our home mortgage and are working on our 3-6 month emergency fund. With our savings, an even more frugal living effort, and his severance, we will be able to survive in semi-comfort for a while. And if we find a job relatively soon, we should be able to quickly complete Baby Step 3 and move on to Baby Steps 4 and 5 in quick succession. We are both anxious to be on Baby Step 6 (paying off our mortgage)! It was thrilling when we received his last official paycheck last week to actually put $500 into savings!

Love has his bad days where he feels defeated because he's not out there providing for his family. But Princess1 and Princess2 are LOVING having Daddy home. I'm liking it too because I can sometimes go to the store, just me. Or go visiting teaching without having to find a babysitter. Princess1 and Princess2 will have a ROUGH time when Daddy finally does go back to work (which means I will have a rough time too). In the meantime, we are loving having Daddy around more.

As for the job hunt, we keep looking, applying and interviewing (yes, he's had a few interviews but no offers yet). I think the worst for Love is waiting to hear after the interview. So if you hear of an opening for a Network Engineer, let us know. I'm going to work on posting his resume this week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WFMW - Smoothies

We are THAT Family is hosting Works for Me Wednesday! I love Wednesdays - I learn so many tips!

Here's what works for me this week, or more this summer. My family loves smoothies! So I decided to share my smoothie "recipe".

Pour into your blender 2 cups of juice (my husband prefers orange juice)/lemonade/limeade.

4-6 oz yogurt, any complimentary flavor
2 handfuls frozen fruit
1-2 handfuls ice

Blend until smooth. Taste test for proportions (I usually want to add a little more frozen pineapple or peach).

Pour into cups with a straw (go skimpy on the kids cup though - I hate to find a half-filled smoothie cup later when I could have had more).

If you want to make it creamier, you can use some ice cream, frozen yogurt or sherbet instead of some of the fruit and ice.

And now that I've made myself want to go make a smoothie, that works for me!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Movies at Founders Park

2009 Movie Lineup - Just Released!-->
July 10 – “Singin' In the Rain” (NR)
July 11 – “The Bucket List” (PG-13)
July 17 – “Igor” (PG)
July 18 – “Ocean's Thirteen” (PG-13)
July 24 – “Madagascar 2: Escape from Africa” (PG)
July 25 – “He's Just Not That Into You” (PG-13)
July 31 – “Kung Fu Panda” (PG)
August 1 – “Iron Man” (PG-13)
August 7 – “The Tale of Despereaux” (G)
August 8 – “The Express” (PG)
August 14 – “Hotel for Dogs” (PG)
August 15 – “Swing Vote” (PG-13)
August 21 – “Wall-E” (G)
August 22 – “Hannah Montana The Movie” (G)
August 28 – “High School Musical 3” (G)
August 29 – “West Side Story” (NR)

I see several that I want to put on our schedule. Maybe we'll see you there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

I made Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner tonight and told everybody on Facebook that's what I was making. In just a short time, I got 2 requests for the recipe (or maybe they just wanted to come eat?). Do I'm posting it here for everyone to enjoy. Now this is the recipe the way I make it (following the instructions from my friend, Mom McIlquham). But if you want to cheat, you could use boneless skinless chicken breast and store bought chicken broth. But you won't feel like Molly Mormon :) if you do. I am a blogger but not a professional blogger - so no pictures of me making this or of a completed serving on a pretty plate.

First you make your chicken mix and broth.

Chicken Mix...
Place 4-5 lb whole chicken into 4 quarts of water with 4 carrots (peeled and cut up), 3 T parsley, 2 t basil, 4 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Save the broth you've created and put it in the refrigerator. Let chicken cool. Then remove bones and skin. Cut up the chicken meat - that's your chicken mix. Skim the fat off your broth and freeze extra broth.

Hawaiian Haystacks

2 cups chicken mix2 cans cr. chicken soup1 cup chicken brothMix together in pot and heat until warm/hot.
Serve with rice and toppings - your choice what you put on your plate.Rice
Chicken Mix
Chow Mein Noodles
Pineapple chunks
chopped green onions
slivered almonds coconut
shredded cheddar cheese

You will need to then save your extra chicken mix and broth in 2 cup containers in the freezer. I actually prefer my own broth - much cheaper, I know how much salt is in it and I skim off the fat to make it "low-fat" broth.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WFMW - Giving Beggar her pills

Today's Works for Me Wednesday has the theme of Mom I'm Bored. I haven't figured out how to deal with that yet. My 6 y/o has just started saying she's bored or that she has nothing to do. I normally respond with "Then go clean your room". That normally stops the complaining - although it does little to get her room clean. On that front, we'll be following LazyOrganizer's notebook idea for the summer and see if that works to motivate her.
But my tip of the week is how I'm giving my cat her medicine. We realized that our female cat, Beggar, has been having seizures. Her vet recommended that we try seizure medicine to see if it helped. The first day I tortured both her and me by sitting on my bed with the cat crammed between my legs, holding her head still and prying open her mouth with one hand while trying to toss the pill down her throat with the other. And no, she did not take this calmly.
I finally got a lightbulb and off to Dillon's I went. I bought her some new treats - soft ones. Now, I put her pill in the middle of a treat. Smash it around the pill. Add a couple normal treats and put them in front of her. She gobbles them whole and we're done. I'm thrilled because I know she's getting her medicine (and it is helping). She's very happy (and so is Malley, our other cat) because she's getting treats twice a day now.
And that Works for me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free Kids Movies at Campbell 16 Cine

Wehrenberg has posted the schedule for free movies this summer, including at our Campbell 16 Cine.

Here's the schedule....

6/3-4 Open Season 2
6/10-11 Kung Fu Panda
6/17-18 Tale of Despereaux
6/24-25 Madagascar 2
7/1-7/2 Stuart Little 3
7/8-9 Marley and Me
7/15-16 Space Chimps
7/22-23 Hotel for Dogs
7/29-30 Bees
8/5-6 Happy Feet

Not sure how many we'll make it to but I'm interested in Kung Fu Panda and Tale of Despereaux.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Price Cutter deals 5/20-5/26

Price Cutter had quite a few deals that I wanted to take advantage of this afternoon. Sadly, I apparently lost my list while at Dillon's this morning. But here's what I managed to get. (I'm posting today so you have time to grab some of these deals too.)

Kraft cheese, including 2%, is on sale for $1.59 for 6-8 oz packages.
I used my $1/1 coupons from here and my $1/2 coupons from here and here.
Final price ranged from $0.59 to $1.09 per package of cheese.

Nabisco crackers - Wheat Thins and Triscuits were 2/$3.49 and I had $1/1 coupons from here. I bought 4 boxes at $0.75 and 0.74 each.

Reser's (potato salad, coleslaw 3 lb) is on sale for $2.50 and I had $1/1 coupons from here.

Corn on the cob is 10/$1.

And I found Large eggs for 0.69 dozen.

Roma tomatoes are also on sale for 0.89 per pound.

I totally enjoyed my shopping trip! I hope you enjoy your's.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WFMW - Wii My Fitness Coach Review

It's amazing how many great ideas I have for a Works for Me Wednesday post until Wednesday comes and I go blank. But what I'm sharing about today is My Fitness Coach for Wii.

I never seem to have time to workout. I tried a 3 month gym membership this winter and it worked for a while. Then my 2 y/o got sick, immediately followed by me being sick. That lasted for a month to 6 weeks. So we started back up, with one month left in our membership. And I went regularly. Maybe not every day but 3-4 days a week. And then for the last week of our membership, an ice storm hit and that was that.

My husband had been suggesting that with some tax refund funds, we purchase the Wii Fit. So I looked into and in the process saw the My Fitness Coach. I compared the two and really liked My Fitness Coach better. Several reasons... 1) lower cost 2) per review comparisons, has a warm up and cool down, better than Wii Fit 3) seemed to have more no- and low-impact exercise and 4) I liked that it regularly evaluates your fitness and helps you set goals. So we ordered it and I anxiously awaited it's arrival - to only get sick again for a few weeks.

Once I tried it, I immediately loved it! Here's what I love...
1) I can set my workout time for as low as 15 minutes and still feel like I've worked out. So even on my very busy days, I can usually get some kind of workout in.
2) "Maya" is encouraging and never mean (a friend who has Wii Fit says it can be quite rude to you).
3) I earn new environments to work out in as well as new music as I work out per my commitment calendar.
4) Every time I workout it's different. The exercises change as well as how long you do each one. The recommended type of workout varies each day (I always choose what "Maya" recommends for the day but I could pick differently if I wanted to). As I progress in my abilities, new exercises are added and existing exercises become more challenging.
5) Periodic evaluations of an individual workout. After each segment of a workout, "Maya" asks how I felt during the segment to make adjustments for next time. So when the "corkscrew" exercise was too much, the next day's workout was a little less intense.
6) There is a 3 minute warm up for each workout and some cool down.
7) It asks what equipment I have that I want to use for workouts. You can change this daily if you need to.
8) If I could convince my husband to workout with me, there is a group workout option that looks at his profile and mine to give us both a decent workout together.

What I don't like or wish they'd improve...
1) There's isn't an option to make a workout low impact. Fortunately, I'm comfortable in knowing how to convert a higher impact move to low impact. I have bad feet (manufacturer's defect) so I don't jump or run (except if my child is in danger).
2) I wish the cool down was longer with more stretching.
3) You create your profile, generally your name. As a great feature, it would be nice if "Maya" used your name in her motivating comments. (Wish list but not a necessity)
4) At the beginning of a workout, I wish it told me whether or not it was going to use my available equipment. It's a pain to get out my exercise ball and then it's not used.
5) I would like to add resistance bands to the list of equipment and use in the exercises.

Overall, I LOVE this exercise program! It was affordable. Because of the constant change, I'm never bored so I want to do it every day. It allows me to choose how long I want to work out for. Although 15 minutes may not be much, it's something and something is ALWAYS better than nothing. I highly recommend this program!

And if you want to see something really fun, have a group of kindergarteners do the workout with you :)

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, go to We are THAT Family and enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just for Ashley

I mainly post to give ideas of what works for me rather than what I'm struggling with. But just for my friend Ashley (no one else should read this post) who posted about being Honest on our blogs late last night, I'm going to tell my struggle with depression and anxiety.

My senior year of high school, I had my first anxiety attack but didn't know what it was but knew it was triggered by the stress of too many responsibilities. During college, I had one or two anxiety attacks, still not knowing what they were. I remember the attacks but not what triggered them. I also had several bouts of depression that were successfully treated with the appropriate meds.

Then in the fall of 2001, I went to the doctor because I felt another depression coming on and he started me on meds again. A few weeks later, I had a major anxiety attack at work. My arms and legs started shaking uncontrollably (I can still remember how this felt). Adam brought me home where I proceeded to veg in front of movies and cross-stitch with some comfort foods - cheese curls, ice cream and chocolate (not mixed).

I went back to my doctor and described how I had felt and what had happened. He decided that instead of being depressed, I was actually having anxiety due to the extreme stress at work . I ended up being off work for a month then came back part-time for another month. I was still on the same project at work but no longer in charge of it. I saw a psychologist to help with stress management and she suggested I might have had a stroke during the attack (remember for later in my story).

One of the things I learned... Depression meds take the serotonin your body naturally produces and helps prolong it. The anxiety med I was on actually helped create serotonin because I wasn't producing enough myself.

As I went back to work, I couldn't multi-task like I used to (one of the reasons I was so successful). And I definitely couldn't handle major projects as being the one in charge. My boss and coworkers who witnessed the attack were all paranoid that I would have another attack and almost tiptoed around me.

This is the real reason I quit working, not because Kaylyn was born. I actually turned in my resignation months before we even heard about a baby coming (he fell through and we found out about Kaylyn came a few weeks after I stopped working). It was time for me to be at home. Work was too much, at least that job. If Kaylyn hadn't come along, I probably would have eventually gone back to a job, more task oriented than responsibility oriented though.

When Kaylyn was 6 months old, I started having tingling sensations in my hands and feet. After many tests and years of research, my doctor and I decided I have peripheral neuropathy. This year, we were watching NCIS and they mentioned that peripheral neuropathy can be a result of a stroke. Remember my earlier note about a stroke. Combine that with the fact that I still can't do multi-tasking very well, maybe I did have a stroke but who knows.

I still have anxiety attacks but can see them coming and work to head them off. I give Adam a head's up and he helps by taking on some additional responsibilities to give me some more down time. We are constantly evaluating what things I am involved in and do I need to be (and do I have a choice).

So Ashley, I may not have panic attacks of fear but I struggle too. Depression and anxiety are a constant battle and are harder to overcome than my natural tendency to be an introvert (I can be extroverted if I need to be). The Gospel helps but it can also create the stress with all the "responsibilities" and "should do"s we take on as women in the Church. But it is my rock and reminds me of the eternal perspective. Christ suffered all these things for us and with us. That's how I survive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

WFMW - dry skin remedy

I was thinking I wanted to do something profound for Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family. But profoundness is not to be found :) So you get how I fixed my dry skin.

For several years, I have had such severe dry skin on my right hand that almost every day my thumb was cracked and often bleeding. The same thing with my knuckles on other fingers. My doctor gave me some special cream and told me to put it on my hand and then wear a latex (or plastic - I don't remember) glove for 30 minutes afterwards. It worked, for a week or so. But it wasn't practical. The doctor had also suggested I keep my hands out of water as much as possible. So I started wearing gloves while I wash dishes. But that wasn't practical for giving my daughters' their baths.

Finally, I had a friend start selling Mary Kay and through her I discovered their Extra Emollient Night Cream. It really worked but I still couldn't get rid of my eczema/dry skin problem. Finally, I switched lotion to St. Ives Advanced Body Moisturizer. After a few weeks of applying the lotion several times a day, plus the emollient at night, it went away. I also convinced my husband to be the primary bath giver/supervisor for our daughters.

Now I only have to use the emollient rarely, like when I've had to catch up on a kitchen full of dishes and give my daughters a bath. I can't endorse these two products enough! They have saved my hand from misery.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WFMW - Traveling with Young Kids (Backwards Edition)

So today is Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family. I LOVE WFMW! Especially today - it's backwards edition and I've been hoping for one of those. So here's my request. We are taking a LONG trip this summer to Southern California (from the Midwest) so my girls will be in their seats for a LONG time (caps are fully intended). I want to keep them entertained, using the DVD player only minimally.

Here's my plan. We are getting a triptik from AAA. On each page of the TripTik, I want to have an activity written on it for the girls. Examples are Sing Silly Songs, Watch a video - K's choice, ABC game, color a picture, open a present (toys/activities they can play in the van).

So what I need from you are your inexpensive to free ideas for activities both my girls, ages 6 y/o and 2 y/o, can do in the van as we drive. I'm figuring I will have 100 pages to write on and some can be duplicates but I want a lot of variety. Although my 2 y/o is brilliant, she can't write and it's difficult for her to see much outside of the van. The 6 y/o is reading but isn't ready for the state license plate game (although DH and I play it most long trips).

So let's see what you come up with....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WFMW - Housekeeping for the non-housekeeper

I am not good at housekeeping. I never have been. Just ask my sister who had to share a room with me growing up. Of course, she's always been a neat freak. She would be grumbling as she picked up my clothes and took them to the bathroom hamper before I even finished putting on my pajamas at night. Her house is always still perfectly made up at all times. Anyone who's been to my house knows that is not the case here. Add to the fact that I am not a natural housekeeper that I get tired easily and distracted/overwhelmed by all that I need to do, I have to have a system. Sometimes I forget to do part of my system but when I do it, it really works! Ask Adam how much better the house looked on Monday when he got home from work!

So what's my system? First have a plan. I have a master list that hangs up in my kitchen of my daily chores. I use it to keep myself on track. I don't have a time schedule, it's an order schedule.

1) start laundry
2) Kitties - litter boxes!!! and food/water
3) Kitchen AM
4) Master bathroom
5) Master bedroom
6) Guest Bathroom AM
7) Living Room
8) Weekly chores
9) Kitchen PM
10) Guest Bathroom PM

Almost everything has a detailed how-to posted in it's appropriate room. I think I've only made it through the entire list a few times and sometimes when company is coming #7 gets done after 3. But each day I start some laundry and take care of the kitties first. Then I do the Kitchen AM chores. Now in between I can get distracted by phone calls, the computer, my daughters.

Looking at the list, you may wonder why if it's seen by all guests, the living room isn't first on the list. A number of years ago, President Monson gave a talk about cleaning out the corners and then the rest takes care of itself. His point was if you focus on the corners, then the middle of the room will naturally become clean. If the living room is constantly seen by our family as well as guests, it is automatically kept cleaner. If my bathroom was at the bottom of the list because no one but our family sees it, it would probably NEVER get cleaned.

How do I deal with getting tired or distracted by my want to dos? I set a timer. I "work" for 20 minutes then I get 10-20 minutes depending on the day to do other things. Morgan tags along with me to do the chores. For some reason, she especially loves being with me as I clean out litter boxes and sweep around them. And even more of a love for her is the dishwasher. Now if she would only let the dirty dishes stay in the dishwasher to get washed.

This system Works for me (when I remember to do it)! For more Works for Me Wednesday, go to Rocks in my Dryer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WFMW - School Birthday Treats

My daughter turned 6 last Wednesday. But it was a snow/ice day so no school. We finally went back on Friday, but Kaylyn complained about her tummy hurting, so she stayed home. So finally on Monday, she got to go to school. She was so excited because she had me bringing in birthday treats for her class.

Our public schools do not allow you to bring homemade items for treats. They must be store bought. Ugh! Expensive when you are buying for 24 kids. Last year for preschool (also part of the public schools), we got the idea of buying the ice cream sandwiches from Sam's Club. They were a major hit so this year we decided to do a repeat. It's 36 sandwiches for $6.74! When they saw ice cream, all the kids were excited.

Simple. Less expensive than alternatives. Delicious, with leftovers! Works for me!

For more, Works for Me Wednesday, check out Rocks in My Dryer.